The Latest: German govt says time is running out on Brexit
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s plans to leave the European Union (all times local):
The German government says it’s still possible to reach a deal for Britain to leave the European Union on good terms next month, but cautioned that time is running out.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that “with goodwill, it’s doable.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel had told Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin over a month ago that an agreement could be struck in 30 days, though she later noted it could also take longer.
Seibert said that what’s needed is “a concrete and written proposal from the British side that’s submitted in Brussels.”
He added that all parties have an interest in reaching an amicable Brexit agreement and “we also want to contribute to that, but time is now a little bit of the essence, that much is obvious.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney says EU negotiators “simply haven’t seen yet” a British proposal that could form the basis for negotiations to break the deadlock in the stalled Brexit process.
Conveney said after meeting with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that “the two sides are quite a long way apart,” while the clock is ticking inexorably toward the planned Oct. 31 departure date.
There is already talk of granting the U.K. yet another extension to its departure date, but Coveney first wants to center on avoiding a no deal. “Really, the onus is on the British prime minister,” he said, referring to Boris Johnson who has vowed to take his country out of the EU by the end of next month.
A court in Northern Ireland has rejected a court case arguing that the British government’s Brexit plans will damage the peace process.
The Belfast Court of Appeal Friday dismissed the case, which appealed an earlier Belfast High Court ruling against the case.
One of the applicants was victims’ rights activist Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by paramilitaries in 1997. His lawyer had told the court that if an extension to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline was not reached, the government should halt the Brexit process rather than leave the European Union without a divorce deal.
McCord was not in court because of medical problems. He says he hopes he is wrong in his belief that the peace process in Northern Ireland will be put in jeopardy by Brexit.
The head of the European Union’s executive Commission says it is working hard to reach a Brexit deal, and failure to achieve one would be Britain’s fault alone.
Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted Friday as telling German daily Augsburger Allgemeine that a no-deal Brexit “would be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom and the European continent.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is demanding significant changes to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May, and insists that his country will leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
Juncker said that he and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier are doing everything to ensure an agreement is reached.
He added that “if in the end that doesn’t succeed, the responsibility for this lies on the British side alone.”
A senior adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed concerns about tensions arising from Parliamentary debates over Brexit, telling supporters that it isn’t surprising that people are upset about the country’s failure to leave the European Union.
The prime minister has been accused of whipping up division with his charged language about Brexit opponents in the House of Commons this week.
But Dominic Cummings told backers at a book launch that the only way to calm tensions is for lawmakers to respect the results of the 2016 referendum.
He says the current chaos is “a walk in the park” compared with the 2016 referendum campaign in which the country narrowly voted to leave the EU. Three years later, Britain and its politicians remain bitterly divided over how, or whether, to leave the 28-nation bloc.
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